Monday, March 30, 2009

More to Criticize? . . .

The world of pop culture is "buzzing" today with "news" that Fox is planning to do a dating formatted reality TV show for "average looking" contestants.

Average looking?  What does that mean?  5'9" men?  5'4" women?  164 pound men?  152 pound women?  Neutral skin tones, bland eyes and moderate-lengthed, average thickness hair?  Wardrobe by Gap?  

NOPE.  It means fat, apparently.  

Yep.  The show is called More to Love and will feature a Kevin James type (Joy and I both love us some Kevin James and I always used to think if I could be his size I'd be happy (smile) so . . . ) bachelor with women competing for his heart and discovering that they can have love at any size in the process.  

This is where loyal readers would assume I'll start losing my mind and spitting venom but - sorry loyal fans (I call them Mom and Dad) that is not going to happen.

Truth be told . . . I'm totally going to give this show a watch.  I think it could just be stupid enough to work.  

I remember when Biggest Loser was first coming out.  I was soooooo offended at the premise.  I assumed it would be exploitive of obesity.  I assumed it would be sizism at its finest (the first clip I ever saw was a weigh-in with 250+ pound women in sports bras and 300+ pound men shirtless and just assumed the pie-to-the-face gags were coming soon after).  I watched that first episode ready to lose my mind and, instead, I just cried at how wonderful it was.  Hundreds of episodes and thousands of pounds later - I'm still watching loyally and I don't know anyone that watches the show that doesn't think it helps increase awareness of obesity and appreciation for the battle us fatties wage internally.

So - why can't that work for a dating show?  The only reason I am doubtful is because this is Fox (Joe Millionaire?  My Big, Fat Obnoxious Fiance?  Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?  They don't exactly have the best track record for putting the class in the "reality" genre, clearly).  I also remember a sketch on Mad TV that was about a dating service for the unlovable and the couple they featured were both overweight (Casey - help me out on this - I know your brain will have trapped away the name of the fake service so I can google it). 

Among the MANY reasons I am hopeful for this show are . . . 

a) The women are said to be competing for a man who is not perfect himself.  The 530 pounder who was scared to meet his future wife in me likes the idea that he doesn't have to be perfect and it also takes away the "chubby chaser" argument that the guy is some fetishist that just likes a woman with a little meat on her bones (not that there is anything wrong with men like that (smile))
b) The show is angled to be inspiring, like The Biggest Loser, for the participants to find their own strength and their own power and, like with the Biggest Loser, when they are "eliminated" it will not be because of their size or weight.  It will be about the way they are playing the game or how big of a "threat" they are so that wouldn't eliminate another way to make it awkward.
c) The reality is that we are, as a nation, getting heavier.  More and more people, especially women (I looked up the stats on this - I'm not just being a jerk) are removing themselves from the social and dating world because of their size accordingly.  We could all stand to see a show that allows love to bloom for people who aren't super-skinny or otherwise "perfect" for television.

I will always be the first to argue that inspiration can come from any where.  If a person watching this show can put down the box of cereal and the can of whipped cream (what I used to eat while watching Joe Millionaire) and put a toe or two in the dating pool and socialize and try to realize they are not defined by their weight or their body or their own assumptions about how people treat them because of their physical trappings and then, in turn, find themselves some happiness because of this show - it is totally worth this show.  It doesn't have to change the nation or inspire the masses.  It just has to help one person without hurting anyone in the process.  I mean, hell, the show Bones is still on, right?  Right!  

Now - all this being said - I'll be the FIRST person to blog my rage about the show if it goes negative or somehow takes advantage of these people because of their weight.  You're on notice, Fox! 


Casey said...

I was just catching up on your life and saw your cry for help. Considering you are on my speed dial for these types of questions, I am honored that you thought I would know the answer. The reward for this faith in my attention to important moments in history: "Lowered Expectations"

Sean C. Amore said...

This, dear readers, is just ONE of the many reasons that I adore Casey. THANK YOU, Case-Face!